28 December 2007

Do We Want What We Want? Or Do We Just Want To Want It?

Dig? It's easy as a woman to get into the habit of thinking, Wow, if only I had the sandals/sunglasses/hair my life would be completely transformed. Earlier this year I went to a store in my neighborhood well known for its shoes. I had been craving a very three-dimensional or else 1940s-ish heel. Yet, when I spied the sculptural shoes of my dreams, I hesitated! I shilly-shallied and looked at other inferior shoes.

Finally, I went over to inspect my little beauties up close. The heel was absolutely everything I'd been fantasizing about--rounded and weighty, Cubist almost.

Yet, I found there was something daunting--maybe even disheartening--about being stared down by exactly what I was looking for. WTF?! Where was the jubilation? The triumph?

Therein lies the conundrum of setting one's heart on stuff: the inevitable let-down of acquisition. This has to do with the expectations we're encouraged to place on objects. We expect fulfillment, transformation, transcendence. But by the time I've saved my money for the Balenciaga sunglasses--if I can even get on the wait list--they're already over. That avenue to acceptance and status--and its downright magical powers to transform my drab little existence--is closed.

Once I confront the actual thing I can't help but notice it doesn't live up to my expectations. But there is no way an object can live up to all the attributes I've imposed upon it. I don't feel any different. I don't feel like I thought I would. I'm exactly who I was before.

That's what's so depressing about getting what you thought you wanted. If these material totems fail us--what's next? Where to now? What is there to believe in? Most people conclude they had the wrong stuff picked out--and pin their hopes on something else. Something more expensive, more exclusive. Cuz that has to do the trick.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Want to continue the discourse or share an insight? Please comment.